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Critics in defense

Aounists condemn critics in defense of exiles attack on Sfeir.
Friday, August 31, 2001 (Daily Star)


Michel Aouns Free Patriotic Movement lashed out Thursday in defense of their exiled leader at criticism of the former army commanders recent swipe at the Maronite patriarch.
A statement issued by the FPM addressed the critics one by one, arguing that while Aouns criticism of Cardinal Nasrallah Butros Sfeir was made with total affection, local critics of Aoun had crossed the line by engaging in slander and false accusations.
Aoun had accused the patriarch on Tuesday of not doing enough to publicize his case.
The minister of interior and acting minister of defense and chairman of the Central Security Council, Elias Murr, the FPM statement said, would have shown responsibility by justifying why he was unaware of who assaulted participants in an August 9 rally at the Justice Palace to protest a wave of detentions of Christian activists.
Murr had commented that the patriarch has been a model of wisdom, and not recklessness.
The FPM said that Telecommunications Minister Jean-Louis Qordahi has yet to explain to us his political program, which has been in existence since 1989.
Qordahi had said that politics involved daily work and not slogans, and stressed that the state was based on the Constitution and the Taif Accord. The FPM asked how Qordahi could defend a state that was violently eliminating its opponents.
The FPM inquired as to whether Metn MP Emile Lahoud Jr had asked his father, President Emile Lahoud, about Aouns case and invited the MP to visit Aouns exile in Paris, to judge if he lived in a palace or a simple home.
Lahoud Jr had said that Aoun was being treated like a simple citizen and enjoyed all the rights of one. As for deputy Farid Khazen, who bemoaned the economic crisis as well as Aouns remarks, the FPM asked whether the Kesrouan MP was aware that more than 1.2 million people left Lebanon due to Syrian hegemony.
Will the naturalization of hundreds of thousands of Syrians and their registration in Kesrouan, Jbeil and the two Metns, he asked, be compensation for what the nation has lost in the way of the cream of its youth?